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24 февраля, 10:51

Estate agents Countrywide and LSL in talks over £470m merger

Tie-up between owners of Hamptons International and Your Move could result in job lossesTwo of Britain’s biggest estate agency groups are in talks over a possible £470m merger that will bring together well-known brands such as Hamptons International and Your Move and could also mean job losses.In a brief statement to the stock market, Countrywide said that “it is in discussions with LSL Property Services regarding a possible all-share combination”. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:47

Stock markets slump as coronavirus spreads in Europe – business live

Rolling coverage of business, economics and markets amid investor concerns over extent of outbreak beyond China 7.33am GMT Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of economics, business, the eurozone and international markets.The coronavirus outbreak has gained pace outside of China, and stock markets in Europe are expected to react heavily. The World Health Organisation on Sunday reported 78,811 confirmed cases, but 367 new cases came outside China, a larger proportion than previously.We typically build inventories in advance of Chinese New Year and, as a consequence, are well stocked with cover for several months and do not expect any short-term impactIf delays to factory production are prolonged, the risk of supply shortages on some lines later this financial year increases. We are assessing mitigating strategies, including a step up in production from existing suppliers in other regions. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:30

UK weather: snow threatens travel disruption as flood alerts continue

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Snow falls across Scotland and northern Britain as further flood warnings issuedSnow and rain fell across Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England on Monday morning as warnings of further flooding were issued.Commuters were advised to expect traffic disruption as the working week began. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:15

'It sounded like the future': behind Miles Davis's greatest album

On the 50th anniversary of Bitches Brew, one of the contributing musicians and the director of a new documentary share their thoughts on the recordGuitarist John McLaughlin, who helped electrify Miles Davis’s music, describes Bitches Brew as “Picasso in sound”. Stanley Nelson, who directed a new documentary on Davis, calls it “an all-out assault”, while Davis’s official biographer, Quincy Troupe, labels it “a cultural breakthrough: it sounded like the future”. Related: Miles Davis's 20 greatest albums – ranked! Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:10

Can you solve it? Leap year logic

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Quadrennial questions It’s not often a leap year comes around. About once every four years, in fact.To celebrate this year’s bonus day, which falls on Saturday, here are three puzzles about dates and births. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Julian Assange supporters set out stall as extradition hearing begins

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US lawyers to give opening arguments for deporting WikiLeaks founder to face charges of espionageJulian Assange is set to face off with the US government when his extradition hearing begins on Monday.A judge at Woolwich crown court in south-east London is due to begin hearing arguments from lawyers for US authorities, who want to try the WikiLeaks founder on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Philip Morris drew up plan for £1bn tobacco transition fund

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Exclusive: firm accused of hypocrisy after talking to anti-tobacco MP about helping smokers switch productsPhilip Morris International (PMI), one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, drew up plans for a £1bn tobacco transition fund in the UK to be spent by local authorities and Public Health England on persuading smokers to give up cigarettes in favour of alternatives such as its “heat not burn” smokeless tobacco product, IQOS, leaked documents reveal.The documents, obtained by the Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, show PMI had discussions with a leading anti-tobacco MP about presenting a smoke-free bill proposing the fund to the House of Commons. If passed, the bill would have ended an advertising and marketing ban on IQOS and e-cigarettes. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

The 100-year life: how to prolong a healthy mind

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As concerns about dementia grow, more research is investigating how we can keep our brains fit and sharpLiving to 100 will soon become a routine fact of (long) life. Life expectancies have been rising by up to three months a year since 1840 and although gains in the UK began to slow in 2011, it is still estimated that more than half the babies born in wealthier countries since 2000 may reach their 100th birthdays. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Labour’s ‘period of reflection’ requires more than self-flagellation | Tom Blackburn

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Demands for Labour to renounce and repent have always followed its defeats. But there are no quick fixesSince Labour’s election defeat in December, the party has managed to agree on one thing: that a “period of reflection” is necessary. But while everyone accepts reflection is required, there are, predictably, wildly varying ideas about what form it should take.One option is to lament the kind of party Labour has become. On BBC’s Politics Live, communications consultant Deborah Mattinson asserted that Labour, apparently once the “pie-and-a-pint party”, was now beholden to the whims of north London quinoa munchers. (Never mind that you can get a quinoa salad in any Wetherspoon pub.) Well-worn as this spiel is, Labour’s base still consists of the kind of people you’d broadly expect: workers, students, renters, the disabled and unemployed. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Somalia edges closer to first democratic election in half a century

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Landmark law expected to replace clan system and lay groundwork for long-awaited ‘one person, one vote’ pollThe president of Somalia has signed a landmark federal law, paving the way for the country to hold its first popular election in half a century.A long awaited “one person, one vote” election could be held by the end of the year. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Apeirogon by Colum McCann review – a beautifully observed masterpiece

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Based on the true-life friendship of two men whose daughters were killed in the Middle East, this novel buoys the heartIn his 1985 Jerusalem prize acceptance speech, Milan Kundera spoke about the novel’s ability to transcend binaries, using Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to illustrate his point. “The novel is the imaginary paradise of individuals,” he said. “It is the territory where no one possesses the truth, neither Anna nor Karenin, but where everyone has the right to be understood, both Anna and Karenin.” In an age of certainty, the novel is the home of doubt, of ambiguity, of multiple truths.Colum McCann has written something he calls a “hybrid novel,” in which the form’s mutability, its stance on both sides and neither, is used to address the entrenched positions of the Middle East. The title is taken from the mathematical term for an object of an “observably infinite number of sides”, a shape that serves as a model for a new way of thinking about a conflict that is too often reduced to simple, opposed positions. Continue reading...

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24 февраля, 10:00

Getting to the Kernel of the issue with a £995 Loaf table

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Description said it was solid wood but it turned out to be a lump of plywood with a thin layer of ashI purchased a Kernel extendable table from online store Loaf. I paid £995 plus £39 for delivery. It was described as solid ash yet it turned out to be a large piece of plywood with a thin (5-6mm) layer of ash. The company offered an exchange for another table or a refund. But what galls me is that they’ve been advertising it as solid. I would never have chosen it had I known how it was constructed but it is not possible to view it anywhere.I still have the table because, despite my disappointment, I haven’t found anything else I like the look of as much and I can’t face the hassle of returning it and finding a new one.CM, Stowmarket, Suffolk Continue reading...